Monthly Archives: October 2017


Updated | A slew of coal-black foods are popping up on Instagram feeds and on the menus of trendy restaurants around the country. Los Angeles soft-serve ice cream shop Little Damage gets thousands of Instagram likes on photos of its charcoal ice cream and color-coordinated black cones. You’ll also see creamy gray lattes, black hamburger buns and inky pizza crust—all with the current “it” ingredient on social media.

While some of the items are clearly just for show, others actually tout supposed health benefits. Bidwell in Washington, D.C., serves up the unusual colored crust, and according to the menu, “Charcoal is a natural purifier and aids in digestion. It is one of the world’s most beneficial elements.”

In North Bergen, New Jersey, Chef Salvatore Olivella began serving charcoal pizza at his restaurant Olivella’s because he believes “It’s helping people,” as he said in an article on the culinary and lifestyle website Thrillist. He told the publication, “In Italy, activated charcoal is very popular. A lot of people use it now in ice cream, in gelato, in cocktails, everything.”

The juicery Jrink boasts that its Black Magic juice can help with digestive issues, hangovers and even cholesterol. Popular Google searches with the term “activated charcoal” show that people turn to the product to whiten teeth, detox and, yes, cure the effects of drinking too much. In an Instagram post, the juice bar even claims that activated charcoal cleanses like magic.

It may be a fad now, but charcoal treatments definitely aren’t new, dating back more than 150 years as a way to remedy cases of poisoning. This works because charcoal attaches to the toxin, stopping it from seeping into your body. Those who believe it’s useful as a detox or hangover cure likely believe this is why it works for other ailments too. Others believe it can help with diarrhea or flatulence, but that has not been proven, and it could actually make diarrhea worse in some cases, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine: Certain charcoal-infused products contain sorbitol, which is a laxative-like sweetener.

The trend has caused medical professionals to warn against using the additive as a health treatment without a doctor’s approval, especially as it can interact with medications.

“Activated charcoal is given to people who take too much medication because charcoal is so absorbent and can counteract an overdose,” Patricia Raymond, a gastroenterologist who works out of a private practice in Virginia Beach, Virginia, told Women’s Health. “But if you’re drinking it and you also are on any meds, even birth control pills, the charcoal is likely to absorb the drugs. So you risk having them become ineffective.”

Even using charcoal for something seemingly insignificant, like as an alternative to whitening toothpaste, is ill-advised. Kim Harms, an American Dental Association spokesperson, told The Daily Beast: “There’s no evidence at all that activated charcoal does any good for your teeth.” In fact, she said you might be doing more harm.

“Like any abrasive, we’re worried about the effects on the gums and enamel on the teeth. We don’t know about the safety and effectiveness of it,” she told the news outlet.

A search on the Food and Drug Administration site does not provide any information on charcoal, as the agency does not regulate the ingredient.

“I typically discourage people from eating charcoal,”  It is an excellent binder to many of the nutrients in our food.  When people go overboard it can potentially I impact the absorption of nutrients as well as supplements and medications. Outside of targeted medical use of this we have very little data to support routine consumption.

Registered Dietician Bethany Doerfler of Northwestern University advises staying away from the trend. “I typically discourage people from eating charcoal,” she writes to Newsweek. “When people go overboard it can potentially impact the absorption of nutrients as well as supplements and medications. Outside of targeted medical use of this we have very little data to support routine consumption.”

So what about those photo-op dark-hued foods flooding social media? They may look pretty on your Instagram account, but this is one craze you may not want to follow.

This story has been updated to include quotes from Registered Dietician Bethany Doerfler.

Source: By Melissa Matthews, Newsweek.  Retrieved from

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The 10 Best Toothbrushes For A 1-Year-Old

Source:  Lisa Fogarty.  Retrieved from

Getting toddlers to brush their teeth takes major parenting persuasion skills — but the best toothbrushes for 1-year-olds make it simpler to ease them into the world of dental health. The whip-smart designs and major cuteness factor of these brushes is the cherry on top.

It is now recommended that babies visit the dentist for the first time after their first tooth grows in and before their first birthdays, according to the American Dental Association. The reason for this early visit is pretty simple: Even babies can get cavities. Kickstarting a healthy, twice-daily brushing routine when they’re young is one of the best ways to prevent cavities and other oral health problems. But since it isn’t exactly easy to get a toddler to do anything for more than a minute at a time, you may need a little help.

And that’s where these fantastic toothbrushes come in. Some, like the uber-popular Baby Banana Infant Training Toothbrush and Teether have racked up thousands of reviews because they’re adorable and double as teethers that can be popped into the freezer to help soothe aching gums. Many toddler toothbrushes have easy-grip handles that encourage little ones to be independent and soft bristles that are perfect for their gums and new teeth.

And for optimum dental health, don’t forget to sing a tune while your toddler brushes (“Happy birthday” is just long enough to ensure all teeth are properly cleaned) and to use a rice-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste on the brush.

Your 1-year-old is sure to love these 10 highly-reviewed toothbrushes.

1A Soft, Flexible Elephant-Shaped Toothbrush With An Easy-Grip Handle

Dr. Brown’s Infant-To-Toddler Toothbrush Set, $7, Amazon

The brand that brings you one of the most popular and trusted baby bottles also makes a pretty adorable elephant-shaped training toothbrush that’s ideal for infants and toddlers. Some of the features you’ll love on this brush include soft bristles, a flexible body that’s gentler on gums, and an easy-to-grip handle. Each brush comes with a pear and apple flavor (non-fluoride) toothpaste that’s safe for younger babies to swallow.

One parent reviewer, who highly recommends this toothbrush called this product an “awesome first toothbrush,” and even raved that their son loves the flavor of the included toothpastes.

2A Banana Toothbrush And Trainer With Large Bristles That Massage Gums

Baby Banana Infant Training Toothbrush and Teether, $8, Amazon

This award-winning training toothbrush and teether is dishwasher and freezer friendly and has thick bristles that massage inflamed gums. The fun “peel” handles are simple to grip and it comes in three colors: yellow, blue, and pink. Since it’s made from 100 percent food-grade silicone, you can feel good knowing you’re giving your little one a safe product to suit both oral hygiene and teething needs.

One mom says this toothbrush set her daughter on the right path to good dental health and that she “absolutely LOVES ‘brushing’ her teeth at night before bed.”

3An Award-Winning Toothbrush With A Short Neck & Colored Dots For Perfect Toothpaste Application

Jordan Step 1 Baby Toothbrush (4 Pack), $14, Amazon

One major reason why many standard toothbrushes won’t work with toddlers is that their length isn’t compatible with a young child’s arms. This Reddot Design Award baby toothbrush, created for ages infant to 2 years, has a short neck and a teeth ring that can be used without fear of choking. It has an ergonomic handle, and for parents who aren’t sure how much toothpaste their little one needs, the bristles feature colored dots that can be used to measure the amount.

4A Brush & Teether With A Cap To Keep Germs Out

Tinabless Baby Toothbrush (3 Pack), $12, Amazon

This baby toothbrush has a genius multifunctional design: One end is a toothbrush with a soft brush head that’s ideal for a 1-year-old’s teeth, and the other side is a circular, texturized teething ring. The teething ring doesn’t just soothe irritated gums, it prevents toddlers from sticking the brush too far into their mouths. Suitable for ages 1 to 6 years, this toothbrush is easy to hold, comes in sweet colors and a penguin design, and even has a cap that keeps the brush clean.

One parent raves: “Not only is this an awesome toothbrush for your little ones to hold, it’s an incredible teether. I am needing to purchase more because my little one loves to run around the house with it. I can’t complain much when they want to brush their teeth all day!”

5A Colorful Puppet Toothbrush Set That Gets Toddlers Excited About Oral Health

The Brushies (4 Pack), $30, Amazon

If your 1-year-old is reluctant to brush or fears the process, The Brushies will put their mind at ease. This storybook and puppet toothbrush kit comes with four colorful finger puppet toothbrushes, made from 100 percent food grade silicone, and an entertaining storybook all about brushing your teeth. This set was designed by a family dentist and psychologist. It’s ideal for infants and toddlers who are just starting a brushing routine.

6Natural Toothbrushes Made With Vegetable-Based Bristles

Radius Totz Toothbrush (3 Pack), $10, Amazon

Everything about these sparkly, colorful toddler toothbrushes was designed for little mouths — from the 8,000 vegetable-based bristles to its FDA-approved colors and materials. These natural toothbrushes are ideal for ages 18 months and up (you may want to store yours and wait, but check with your dentist to see if your tot is ready) and are free of BPA, latex, phthalates, and lead.

One mom says these toothbrushes are perfect for toddlers: “This one is perfect. I’ve been using it for 1 and 1/2 years and I haven’t found anything else better than this.”

7A Training Toothbrush Set That Includes A Gum Massager And Ring Protector

Nuk Grins And Giggles Training Toothbrush Set, $6, Amazon

You can start using this training toothbrush set the second your child’s first tooth peeks through — and you’ll love all the bells and whistles that come with it. One brush massages the gums to relieve teething pain and the other brush provides a thorough cleansing. A protective ring that comes with the kit can be placed on either brush to prevent your toddler from inserting it too far into his mouth. The ring doubles as a stand to hold the toothbrush.

8A Battery Powered Training Toothbrush Recommended By Occupational Therapists

Summer Infant Gentle Vibrations Toothbrush, $10, Amazon

Many parents say occupational therapists recommend this battery powered toothbrush for young toddlers and infants who have oral motor delays and oral hypersensitivity. With three interchangeable toothbrush heads, including a gum stimulator for teething, parents mostly agree that this is a great starter kit, and especially effective if your child has sensory difficulties. One important thing to note: The handle is what actually vibrates, and not the brush head, providing a far more gentle vibrating experience than one you’d get from a standard battery operated toothbrush.

9A Toothbrush With A Removable Safety Slider & A Cover

Mom Miya Baby Toothbrush (3 Pack), $9, Amazon

These soft training toothbrushes have a removable safety slider design that can be used to prevent toddlers from choking on the brush. You’ll get three toothbrushes in one kit (in pale green, yellow, and purple), as well as a convenient carrying bag and three brush covers to keep them clean. The soft brush head massages gums and safely cleans baby teeth, and these brushes can easily be sterilized in boiling water.

One mom writes: “I was looking for a toothbrush for my 13 month old son who wants to ‘do it himself’ and these are perfect with the protector so he doesn’t shove it all the way in his mouth.”

10A Bang For Your Buck Set Of Six Toothbrushes With Unique Handles

Plak Smacker Infant Stage 2 Toothbrushes (6 Pack), $7, Amazon

Babies and toddlers go through toothbrushes quickly — they drop, lose, and get them dirty beyond repair. That’s why this budget-friendly kit of six training toothbrushes is so great. You’ll get a variety of colors, all of which share the same amazing scissor-like handle that toddlers can hold without help. These toothbrushes are ideal for babies from infancy to age 3.

One mom of twins says that her children “love that there is a variety of colors and no chance of mixing the brushes up and sharing germs.”

Romper may receive a portion of sales from products purchased from this article, which was created independently from Romper’s editorial and sales departments.

Source:  Lisa Fogarty.  Retrieved from